Fall for 2012…
…begins here in our corner of the Northern Hemisphere on September 22 at 8:49 AM PDT. This picture from our yard was taken at sunset tonight (the 20th), so on the day of the actual Equinox the sun will set (from our perspective) pretty much at the northern tip of Orcas Island, the flat part just to the left of the sun tonight.
The Great Rosé sale
Since Fall is officially here, it is time to phase out our Rosé Shrine at the top of the stairs. Rosé has made a big splash in the market in the last couple of years, and we, too developed a taste for it on our few recent trips to Europe. There it is common to have a pretty large meal in the early afternoon, when rosé is the perfect accompaniment with its subdued flavors, brisk acidity, and cheerful color, from pale pink to deep red-orange and everything in between. As many of us have learned in the past few years, the rosés that are being so widely enjoyed today are either bone-dry or just ever so slightly off-dry; refreshing and palate-cleansing, they are not, as some people fear, “sweet.”
So as another Northwest Summer (yes it was actually HOT here for a few hours this year!!!) fades into Fall, it’s a great time to enjoy another few bottles of rosé at sunset, with a little bite of something savory and someone special to share it with.
While it lasts, 10% off all rosés!
Famous Chef visits Artisan Wine Gallery!
They seemed like just another charming couple, he (Maxime) the famous-in-certain-circles French chef and author, and she (Katie) the sweet young cowgirl from Montana. And they were very charming, dropping in late in the afternoon on a drifting, drydock Saturday chez nous. It wasn’t until they had been here quite awhile that we realized that he was (OMD!) Maxime Bilet, co-author with bazillionaire food experimenter/explorer Nathan Myhrvold of the “widely praised, six-volume, 2,400-page ‘cookbook’ Modernist Cuisine that reveals science-inspired techniques for preparing food that range from the otherworldly to the sublime. The authors and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab have achieved astounding new flavors and textures by using tools such as water baths, homogenizers, centrifuges, and ingredients such as hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, and enzymes. It is a work destined to reinvent cooking.”
All of this, I might add, has been accomplished just as Maxime has reached the ripe old age of…wait for it…30! He is a charming, unassuming young man of whom we could say “he is going places,” but of course he has already been some pretty amazing places, and it leaves this old guy baffled even to imagine what comes next. Hey, maybe he will be the next famous chef at the Willows when Blaine retires…you know, when he’s 30…!
At various times it seems the Universe has a Plan that just starts unfolding around you, and there’s not much to do but follow along as best you can. This seems to be one of those times with regard to our “gallery” function. For most of the past seven years we have enjoyed inviting various local artists to use our wall space (we get new decor and they get some level of exposure), and that has usually taken the form of one- or two-month shows. In between artists, we display our fall-back, default wine posters, mostly from a great series of annual Jazz posters from Longoria winery in Los Olivos (same place as movie Sideways), and named after a wine they do each year called “Blues Cuvée.”
In the last few weeks a couple of artists who have displayed their work here in the past have offered to leave pieces in our care as our new “default” pieces. So the good news is that we have some new (and old) works by Island artists Meredith Moench and Brendan Dunn for your (and our) viewing pleasure. I did try to take pictures of a few of them to post here, but as I mentioned last week, our camera is doing very weird things which make most of our recent pictures unusable. (The sunset photo above was just barely salvageable– you can see the strange horizontal bars if you click on the photo for the larger version).
So please do come on by this weekend: see the art, buy some rosé, schmooze a bit, lament the passing of another summer, and start celebrating next week’s return of the Whatcom Chief, our trust ferry.
This week’s tasting notes
Naia Naia ’10 Spain 89pts $14
100% Verdejo but with 12% of the wine fermented and aged in French oak. This fragrant, medium-bodied offering displays enticing aromatics of grapefruit, lime, and kiwi, a round, smooth-textured mouth-feel, and a crisp, refreshing acidity.
Celler Masroig Rosat ’09 Spain $8
A light, uncomplicated rosat we enjoyed in Spain a few months ago after visiting the wine cooperativa that makes it.
Honoro Vera Monastrell ’10 Spain $9
Tank aged 100% Monastrell. Its pleasing nose reveals notes of underbrush, mineral, and blueberry leading to a savory, spicy, nicely balanced medium-bodied wine.
Lost River Nooksack Redd ‘08 Washington $18
Our friends at Lost River make this special blend of cab, merlot, and cab franc to benefit the Nooksack River Salmon Enhancement Administration…a worthy cause, AND it’s DELICIOUS!